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Death With Dignity Or Sanctity Of Life: Who Gets To Choose?

1042 words - 4 pages

The ongoing controversy about Physician assisted suicides is an ongoing battle among physicians, patients and court systems. The question of whether or not individuals have the “right” to choose death over suffering in their final days or hours of life continues to be contested. On one side you have the physicians and the Hippocratic Oath they took to save lives; on the other you have the patients’ right to make life choices, even if that means to choose death to end suffering. The ultimate question “is it ethical for a physician to agree to assisted suicides and is it ethical for a patient to request assisted suicide?
Physician aid-in-dying (PAD) is an act of a physician aiding in the death of a competent, terminally ill patient(Dudzinski, Starks, White 2009).The death is carried out by the patient being given a lethal dose of medications which the patient must self-administer to end his or her life. Physician-assisted suicide (PAS), is the act which the physician aids the patient in killing him or herself. Euthanasia is carried out by a third person administering the lethal dose of medication. The ethical question of these acts being permissible is still being argued (Dudzinski, Starks, and White 2009)
Starting with the argument of it not being ethical, Martin Levin a practicing attorney states; that when he first began his paper and research he believed people should have the right to an assisted suicide. After doing extensive research he changed his mind. Just some of these reasons include sanctity of human life. It is stated that God created the human life and therefore our lives and bodies are the property of God. It is also stated that no one has the right to destroy Gods’ property (Levin M. 2002). In many churches however the choices to eliminate life-sustaining procedures is recognized as the life shutting down naturally and is not considered assisted suicide. Another argument which Levin mentions is that supporters of assisted suicide believe a doctor should ascertain accurate diagnosis and prognosis at least 90% of the time. The question of why it is better for one patient to die prematurely and without cause so that the other nine can die with “dignity” (Levin M. 2002)? After the administering of pain medication and psychological and family advocating fails to provide comfort to the patient; then the alternative to renounce nutrition and hydration to end the life naturally remains to be an option (Levin M. 2002). An additional contention is that if assisted suicides are legalized than it will influence more individuals to choose voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.
Levin comments that humans do not live in a vacuum (Levin M. 2002 (Par.h). It is not just about us as an individual, our life and death will affect everyone in our community and family (Levin M. 2002). When we are deciding how our lives and death will be played out we need to also look at the affects to others being positive or negative. With a positive outcome we...

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